Books to read: Factfulness

This book is a recommendation from Bill Gates. He shared his list of top reads and I take note of what leaders I respect are reading. This was an excellent recommendation and one of my top books this past year. You can find it on Amazon here, and it is worth the read. As usual, I will include the published review, but I have to endorse this on as a top pick!

Hans Rosling wrote this book in collaboration with Anna Rosling Rönnlund and Ola Rosling. He summarized his thoughts on the book as follows:

“This book is my last battle in my life-long mission to fight devastating ignorance…Previously I armed myself with huge data sets, eye-opening software, an energetic learning style and a Swedish bayonet for sword-swallowing. It wasn’t enough. But I hope this book will be.” Hans Rosling, February 2017.

Please read the book – I consider myself to be open minded and an experienced global thinker, having done business across the world for many years, as well as having grown up internationally. I was surprised and encouraged by this book. The foundational premise is that the world is improving, and we are missing that point! What I love about this book is the data driven, pragmatic approach which appeals to my approach to life. Hans has a humorous and engaging writing style and a passion for people that comes through in the reading. You can see what others have said here:


“One of the most important books I’ve ever read―an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.” – Bill Gates

“Hans Rosling tells the story of ‘the secret silent miracle of human progress’ as only he can. But Factfulness does much more than that. It also explains why progress is so often secret and silent and teaches readers how to see it clearly.” Melinda Gates

Factfulness by Hans Rosling, an outstanding international public health expert, is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases.” – Former U.S. President Barack Obama

Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.

When asked simple questions about global trends―what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school―we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers.

In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective―from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse).

Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases.

It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think.That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most.

Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future.

Why I recommend this book:

We need to have a worldview based on facts. This book drives the reader that direction. I consider this one of my most influential reads of the year and likely the past decade as it challenges the reader on many levels to disregard preconceived notions and unconscious biases that drive our speech and actions. I do not believe you can read this book and genuinely seek to understand it, but not be changed in some way.


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